Kevin Kossowan’s Wild Game Tasting and Cooking Demonstration

A quintessential Alberta culinary experience

I met Kevin Last June when I invited him to my Taste Tripping party. I have learned a great deal from and with him since then and was delighted when he accepted my invitation to teach this class.

I knew the participants would be in for a treat, but he surpassed even my expectations with his presentation and the culinary experience. I was assisting, but definitely tasting.

Black and Blue Pronghorn with Arugula Salad

This is the fourth class offered in my Winter Session and the first one that was a cooking demonstration and not full hands on, so a lovely tasting meal to enjoy with a friend. I had a wonderful time, and I was hostess and Kevin’s Sous Chef!

Above is Su and Kathy. Su’s face may be familiar as she was at the Sausage Making Class and will be at my Bread Baking Class. She is most definitely my number one customer! She emulates positive enthusiasm wherever she goes which is a pleasure to have at our classes here!

The Menu:

Wild Game Tasting and Cooking Demonstration with Kevin Kossowan

2010 “˜Gary’ Crabapple wine aperitif

Charcuterie board [brési, dry cured sausages, aged St. Maure]

The Humble Meatball w/ Boule Artisanale la Valerie (yet to be posted)

Black & Blue Pronghorn Loin w/ Arugula from Mornvilled Greenhouse

Calf moose loin with highbush cranberry paste, shaggy parasol powder, morel powder, local leek-potato-chevre purée, paired with 2009 Saskatoon wine

Cow elk loin in aged St. Maure cream sauce w/ Carrot Slaw with Mighty Trio Organics flax seed oil

Greens Eggs & Ham’s Duck Egg Zabaglione (yet to be posted) over Winter Berries

Kevin arrived with his arms laden and immediately started to prepare the charcuterie and cheese tasting course. All of the meats below have been made with his own hand and cured in his temperature controlled root cellar.

With guests in place, Kevin began to explain his food philosophy and his desire to provide as much food as possible for his family by his own hand with economic calculations a part of everything he does. In brief: a family of four CAN eat delicious, nutritious, local food cooked from scratch that is incredibly economical. IF they take the time to investigate how (the how is on Kevin’s site) and cook from scratch.

Then he introduced each of the tastings on the board.

We were fortunate to also have two local food bloggers attend, Courtney and Brook from Take it and Like it, as well as Liane Faulder from the Edmonton Journal and Eat My Words.

The bresi is a dried cured calf moose. The calf moose saucisson sec is (in Kevin’s words) “made the same way as a pork saucisson sec exactly, but comes across differently. The vastly leaner meat, even with the same proportion of fat, creates a drier, denser dry cured sausage with a light sense of game meat”. The elk jerky is “cured in a marinade of sorts, then dried in the oven. I put the racks of jerky over a wood fire for a touch of wood smoke”. The pork saucisson sec is “a classic preparation; this recipe from Ruhlman’s ‘Charcuterie’, but carries a complex, old-world cellar flavor from the dry cure”.The St. Maure is one of the cheeses from Smoky Valley Goat Cheese that Kevin has aged in his temperature controlled root cellar to a new taste experience. Each was absolutely delicious. Kevin provided the pork as a standard to compare the wild game to. There was nothing gamy about this charcuterie. Everyone had a different favourite. Mine was the moose. The cheese had actually developed a heat through the extra aging that was surprisingly delicious and very unexpected.

Kevin’s crab apple wine was paired with this course. It was bright and almost sparkly, light, fruity and the best fruit wine I have ever tasted. Truly. It paired perfectly with this course.

Charcuterie board: brési, dry cured sausages, aged St. Maure

The lean texture of the bresi was really beautiful. The ultra thin slices almost melted on the tongue.

Kevin was equally as thoughtful about presenting a tasting of each game sample. The calf moose meatballs were first, and he purposefully chose to serve them with only salt and pepper so that the crowd could taste the true flavour of the meat. The colour of the ground meat was a much darker red than is portrayed below.

The Humble Meatball

They were fried in olive oil with salt and pepper added along side a couple of sprigs of rosemary. The flavour was almost veal-like. Certainly, it was not gamy. It was a little lean and Kevin said that he would normally add pork fat to add moisture to the meat. The flavour and texture were surprising to all. Kevin has found that the moose calf is a sought after protein in his household. That was easy! The Humble Meatball was served in its pure simplicity and demystified the assumption that many hold: game needs to be “doctored up” to taste good.

Look at the beautiful Pronghorn Loin, below. None of us had tasted antelope. Kevin said he was cooking it like people cook Ahi Tuna: seared and blood red in the centre as that is best for this cut. I had read that was the best way to cook mallard duck breasts, too, which I have done with incredible results a few times, thanks to my good friend, Marie for keeping me in supply.

Kevin seasoned the board with salt, pepper and thyme.

My “boule artisanale” had been out of the oven only about fifteen minutes before we could no longer resist cutting into its crusty steamy depths. The NAIT instructors say bread shoud be left to completely cool for at least two hours before serving. That didn’t happen, nor was it mentioned at my bread making L’attelier at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, nor by Richard Bertinet in Bath, UK. Both Master Bread Makers sliced into hot loaves and slathered them with butter while hot as we did on this day! Mmmmm.

And, I did get a crunchy crusty crust! I have that down to a science, now.

Boule Artisanale la Valerie

I have always liked rare meat. I love steak tartar, and even though I don’t eat meat, this was calling my name. We were all transfixed.

Each of the courses was incredible, but the Black and Blue Pronghorn was French Laundry quality. I have never tasted a meat with the tenderness of texture and the depth of flavour coupled with the unexpected subtlety that this pronghorn loin presented to us cooked rare blue and seasoned so simply, yet to perfection. Everyone was dead silent (not counting the audible moans of pleasure) while tasting this dish. Alas, pronghorn is rare and not something a hunter can count on because there’s a priority system in the drawing of licenses. For this particular animal the WMU (wildlife management unit) that Kevin hunts in down south only releases tags every 5-7 years, depending on the gender. So it’s essentially a 5-7 year waiting list, for wildlife management reasons.  Thus, we were very fortunate that Kevin shared the delicacies of his with us that he did.

And this would be the time to say that Kevin donated his meat to this tasting. When I asked him to teach the class, he jumped at the opportunity as one of his passions is educating people that game is not strong and off putting when cooked correctly. However, he was crystal clear that this meat would be donated for this class as he had more than enough to share. Thus, we were able to learn and taste and enjoy an incredible luncheon due to his generosity.

Black & Blue Pronghorn Loin w/ Arugula from Mornville Greenhouse

What I love about Kevin’s food is that it is simply cooked. What is on the plate may not be so simple. Oh, no. But his plating and preparation celebrates the flavours that each item brings to the plate.

What a thoughtful tasting: three loins. Look at the difference between the size of the elk and the moose loin below, and then compare it to the pronghorn loin, above. The tasting and cooking demonstration was also carefully thought out  and presented to the class from the subtlest of flavours to the strongest.

Again, Kevin seasoned the board, this time with salt and pepper and his own shaggy parasol powder. I was stunned to find that this was a very intense earthy scent so similar to dried porcini. I always buy dried porcini when in Italy and it is outrageously expensive; however, there is nothing like it. (Except, truffles.) These mushrooms grow on Kevin’s property. He dried them, and has, in my opinion, pure gold in his jar.

The question was asked: how do you determine whether you have a poisonous mushroom or not? Kevin referred all questions to the Local Mycological Society, yet added that he also wrote about determining this on his site: shaggy parasol pore print verdict.

The calf moose loin was rolled in the seasonings, then sliced. Greens Eggs & Ham’s pink potatoes with butter fried leeks and Smoky Valley goat chêvre are just about to be mashed. The vibrant pink potatoes were a surprise to Kevin. Neither of us had seen them so pink before, yet, somehow it all seemed perfect.

Perfect as for some odd reason, only women bought seats for this “manly meal” and perfect as this meat would be paired with Kevin’s Highbush Cranberry Paste which was actually a jelly that never jelled that was cooked into a paste. And, now, we all want the “recipe”. It was wildly delicious paired with the cow moose. And the potatoes? Well, I have already had the pleasure of eating Kevin’s food. But, if you want a drop dead delicious side for any lovely dinner, gently fry chopped leeks in butter, add then to boiled potatoes and Smoky Valley goat chêvre. Rice or mash them all together: season to taste, and be prepared to want to bury your head in the soft pillowy mounds. Yes, they are just that good!

Calf moose loin with highbush cranberry paste, shaggy parasol powder, morel powder, local leek-potato-chevre purée, paired with 2009 Saskatoon wine

The elk loin was sliced and fried, then smothered in a strong cheese sauce made by frying onions in the heavily browned pan, deglazing it with heavy cream and melting in the aged St. Maure. Oh, yum!

Cow elk loin in aged St. Maure cream sauce w/ Carrot Slaw with Mighty Trio Organics flax seed oil

The light and lively crunch of the carrot slaw paired perfectly with the bold deep meaty flavours of the elk dish. This taste was gamy, but not in an off putting way. It was gamy in an exotic and pleasing manner that was strong, yet not foreign. It had a liverish quality. I do not like liver. At all. But, I was drawn to this and enjoyed it immensely.

Beavie and Su were loving the 2009 Saskatoon wine with the meats. It was not a light wine like the apple. It was the perfect complex fruity partner to this game.

Then, my turn. Well, I was failing as Sous Chef. I did really well until the dishwasher was full and then both sinks were full. Even with a class of six I have learned there needs to be two on clean up, or the class needs to be more involved in the clean up. This was definitely not that kind of class!

Winter berries are varied in my freezer as I have Saskatoons, black currants, Evan’s Cherries and they are all grown in my yard. Raspberries were perfect for this, mixed with a bit of concentrated non-sweetened orange juice. There is enough alcohol in the Zabaglione for me, so the fruit are not macerated in it beforehand. I will eventually post this recipe, but methinks it was the perfect ending to a very educational and flavourful afternoon!

Greens Eggs & Ham’s Duck Egg Zabaglione (yet to be posted) over Winter Berries

Leisurely chatting continued, as it always does after a class of this nature, this time with espresso.

I thought I knew what to expect during this class, but I learned so much and that is why we do what we do!

The remainder of the cooking classes this season are sold out.

If you have wishes or suggestions for future classes, or repeats of classes you have read about here, please let me know and I will surely make it happen!

And where is Beavie? Sleeping off the wine… with purple lips, face down on the counter. That’s where.


  1. says

    This was the class I had most wanted to come to, alas, I worked of course :( I have been looking forward to the post, but it just made me wish I had gone instead! What a fantastic time that must have been,Kevin is truly talented.

  2. says

    Oh, how I would love to have had a seat at that table! I do remember Kevin from your prior posts and this cooking/demonstration/tasting looks like a spectacular adventure for attendees. Lucky Canadians!

  3. says

    Valerie…this was quite the post especially for Foodies that are really mostly into meat and its derived products. I have to admit, that although I’ve cut down quite a bit on meat, I do however become quite selective in my culinary meat based picks.
    Btw…I’ll have a great big chunk of that goat cheese please ;o)

    This class and demonstration seems to have been done spectacularly well…congrats ;o)
    All the very best in your upcoming slow food event as well.

    Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,

  4. says

    What a wonderful class, Valerie! I have to admit, I am not the bravest when it comes to wild game because of the stronger flavor. I did have elk once in Colorado and it was delicious. The pronghorn does look wonderful also and looks much like a tenderloin of beef.

    Your bread looks fantastic and I would love the duck egg and winter berry zabaglione.

    You have the best classes and congratulations to Kevin for his beautiful variety and presentations.

    • Valerie says

      What thoughtful comments, but I have to respond to your first line: I am not the bravest when it comes to wild game because of the stronger flavor. That was exactly why Kevin was so passionate about teaching this class and donating his meat to demystify this very belief. Many have had the experience of very off putting wild game tastings from people who are not cooking their game properly. Thus, the idea of the class was born as I was just like you before meeting Kevin and tasting game cooked properly.
      One thing I didn’t write about that he did mention was about wild game stock: don’t bother to keep the bones. This is one time where you really do have to throw them away as the stock does taste terrible.

  5. says

    Valerie., you’ve done it again girlfriend :) You know I’ve never tasted game such as this although I’d love to so much & drank in every word & read the post again. I am so interested in learning more about this wild side of meats & have enjoyed learning more (& tasting whenever I can) our Australian wild animals too. When done properly wild meat is exquisite, & Kevin sounds as if he’s a master at it all. Not for the first time have I drooled over these classes of yours, wishing I could attend one of these days… this one is my favourite so far. Thank you for sharing, what a great experience.

    • Valerie says

      This class was a fine dining experience with intimate cooking information and demonstration right in front of you. Though each class thus far has held its appeal for me, I can see as a chef how this would be your favourite. What are the Australian game meats in your area and what have you tasted? Here, there is too often a negative stigma attached to the flavour of game due to people not knowing how to prepare it properly. Is it the same there?

  6. says

    Valerie, what I wouldn’t give to be in one of your classes, or tasting one of Kevin’s homecured meats (or hand-harvested mushrooms or his own pronghorn loin or … ). Amazing. I’m not a big meat eater, but I do appreciate a well-prepared piece of meat, not overdone and especially unique flavors. What a great event! You were some lucky gals :)

    By the way, I have to agree that, while I’ve also learned that bread must cool for 2 hours after removing from the oven, I usually cut into a fresh loaf after 1/2 hour and have suffered no ill effects. I don’t advertise this practice, though 😉

    Take care, Valerie! :)

  7. says

    Hi my dear! You have completely inspired me to start something like this in Austin. I would love to hear more about how you got this all started! I’m normally not a big fan of meat, but it was evident that so much care went into every dish. I would have been in meat heaven! Thanks for sharing your creativity in the kitchen! Your words, recipes and photos always bring a big smile to my face. Have a great Monday!

  8. says

    What a fantastic experience for all of you lucky enough to attend! I must be honest and say that I’m not very adventurous when it comes to meat. The only meat I will eat once in a while is beef and chicken. Although Gary and my Dad would have definitely enjoyed every type of meat prepared here. Such a wise choice for Kevin to use just salt and pepper to allow everyone to really taste the true flavor of the meat.
    I’ve always wondered why bread is left to cool down before cutting into it. I love hot fresh baked bread. It only makes sense to me to cut into it right away while it’s still fresh and hot so my yummy butter can melt away on it. Then again, what do I know about bread? Thank you for sharing this great experience with us, Valerie. Congratulations as it seems your classes are are doing very well (past and future) in the numbers attending and the class itself. I wish you much more success in the future my dear friend!

  9. says

    Wow that is one very impressive lesson Valerie! I would have loved to come and I am sure Tom would have loved to come too, as this is as you said a very ‘manly’ topic! Love your classes and I would have loved to come even more to the breadbaking one… As I need some lessons in that as you will see in a few days time on my… Great shots too!

  10. says

    Valerie this is post is amazing. I love all the meats you are presenting and you make me want to grow up and host a nice dinner party trying different things. Only that I can’t get Kevin and I may have to lock my kids in a cage but soon, I hope soon… Beautifully written post, THANK YOU.

    • Valerie says

      Reindeer… that would be fun to try! (poor Rulolph!) The purpose of this tasting and demonstration was to show how to cook these meets without the off putting gamy taste. And, it was definitely a mission accomplished. I wonder how your moose would differ, too!

  11. says

    Fisrt off, glad your back..we missed you!!(thanks for the lovely comments you shower me with each post, I really appreciate them all!!)
    A perfect day of tasting, friends and learning…the calf moose meatballs have me salivating and the loin looks perfect, a great evening..I love the sweet ending of your winter berries. All clasess sold out a true success val..congrats!!

    Eat Alberta sounds wonderful, I hope the event goes well!!

  12. says


    You are such an amazing woman! Like the French say “une force de la nature”, unstoppable; I am so impressed with all the work you have done to get these classes off the ground and this one sounds so interesting and this man is truly an artist, passionate about his trade. It is most impressive.

  13. says

    I’m beginning to wish I could live in Edmonton! I would have loved to be there. The pronghorn looked like it could melt in your mouth. I just love your format for your classes. They seem so warm and welcoming.

  14. says

    What an awesome event! I rarely crave meat but when I do, I treat myself to high quality stuff…like this. Everything looks so delicious!

  15. says

    Oh Valerie! I’m late with posting. Plus, I came by here yesterday and thought you had just posted that Slow Food update. Oops!
    This all looks so wonderful, Valerie. Kevin seems like his charcuterie skills are very sharp, so I’m going to take a look at his site. I always wonder if I would be able to survive if I needed to in nature (smile but seriously). I always think people who truly figure out all the land and earth around them has to offer are the ones with the real skill. Yeah!
    p.s. Some of the photos here are so nice. Makes me realize I need to learn my new camera soon:)

  16. says

    This is dream post, Valerie! It would be somewhere between very hard and absolutely impossible for me to source any of the ingredients used above, but how I wish I could do so. Everything looks so special, and I’m green with envy. I would have LOVED to be at your tasting party…

  17. says

    Valerie – how lucky are those close to you – I could never find such classes on food/gastronomy near me. I can only read in envy 😛 I’ve only tasted venison and wild boar. The venison was good, but the wild boar, I won’t be revisiting any time soon. I would have dived in without a second thought had I been there; everything looks so darned good, especially that pronghorn loin! Need I say how gorgeous your boule is? Yes? It’s GORGEOUS!! Good luck and best wishes for the Slow Food Conference :)

  18. says

    Val, although I’m not big on game (every time I’ve tasted, it hasn’t been prepared well because it tastes ‘gamey’!), those meats look amazing, and it sounds like a fantastic class! Looks like you planned and set up the slow food conference! Wish I had the time and money to join in *sigh*. Well..another time.

    By the way, I don’t have a linked in account (at least I don’t think I, but I guess I need to set one up eventually, when I actually work FT again LOL

    • Valerie says

      Slow Food membership is $40 Canadian a year if you are a student, $90 Canadian a year if not, or $300 for 3 years for two people… BUT, many Slow Food events are open to the public and do not require a membership for participation. (My Linked in Account asked me a question… I said yes – and suddenly it got a crazed happy little grin on its face and ravaged through my e-mail addressed inviting everyone. Sorry about that – but, you should get one!)

  19. says

    Valerie, this is my dream happening! Wow! What a fabulous, marvelous tasting! All that gorgeous charcuterie and sausisson sec, the wild game (heavenly paired with a fruity condiment) is perfection for me. I could eat the stuff all day. Lucky lucky you all! Right down to the dessert! Sadly, as husband doesn’t really like game we rarely get to enjoy it. Oh for an invitation to an event like this. And a cute chef to look at, too 😉 Great post!

  20. Colette Compton says

    I’m not a big fan of beef, but in Finland I used to eat reindeer and moose and always preferred the gamy taste to beef or pork. Some of the photos here are so nice. I absolutely love the wild game meats and would have loved to be at this demonstration and tasting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>